School board seats contested in 3 districts


Voters will decide in Hillsboro, Greenfield, Fairfield

By Jeff Gilliland - jgilliland@timesgazette.com



Editor’s note – Following is a preview of school board candidates in Highland County running in contested races during the Nov. 7 primary election. Each candidate was asked their age, past board experience and why they want to serve on their respective school board.

HILLSBORO

Four candidates – Doug Ernst, Larry Lyons, Beverly Rhoads and Jerry Walker – are running for three open seats. They are all current or former Hillsboro Board of Education members. In addition, William H. “Uncle Buck” Myers is a current board member, but is running unopposed for the unexpired term left by former board member Terry Britton’s election as a county commissioner. That term expires on Dec. 31, 2019.

ERNST – A 52-year-old, Ernst has been serving on the board since last October through an appointment. He also served about three years on the St. Mary Catholic School Board around the time it was originally formed.

“I really enjoy it personally,” Ernst said. “It’s something I feel is very worthwhile and it’s a way I can use my experience, skills and talents to help the school and give back to the community.” Ernst said he feels it is important to keep students in the community where they were raised and that the best way to do that is for the school to give them a good base on which to build.

LYONS – A 65-year-old, Lyons is in his second year of serving on the board through an appointment. He also served on the board about 25 years before his work took him to Troy.

“I think public education is important,” Lyons said. “I believe that we have to have a competitive environment for high quality teachers and that we need to be diligent with the taxpayers’ money while striving for excellence in education.”

RHOADS – A 78-year-old, Rhoads is currently in her 12th consecutive year on the board. She worked 44 years for the Hillsboro City Schools before that.

“I feel I can contribute since I have been around for so long,” Rhoads said. “I know the past history, how things have been done, and what has transpired over the years. I think I have a lot to contribute.”

WALKER – A 67-year-old, Walker previously served one term on the board from 2012 through 2015. He also taught in the Hillsboro schools for 32 years.

“I think it’s fair to say I have spent my career in education and have a strong interest in providing a high quality, free public education, and I have a passion for all children to get that quality education,” Walker said. He said he wants to continue his life’s work in education by serving the on the board and that he feels the Hillsboro schools are very close to achieving many of the state-mandated goals.

GREENFIELD

Four candidates – Amy Ernst, Marilyn Mitchell, Charley Roman and Eric Zint – are running for three seats on the board.

ERNST – Is a 42-year-old seeking her first term on the board. She has been involved with the school through the band boosters and other volunteering.

“I’m running because of my human resources background,” Ernst said. “I value the school system and, one, I have experience with my human resources for the teachers and staff and, two, I work as a recruiting manager for Amazon and have a big passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) programs and really want to help children be ready for the technical and engineering jobs out there, because that’s where the jobs are going.”

MITCHELL – A 65-year-old incumbent, she is finishing her first four-year term on the board. She taught in the Greenfield school system for 38 years.

“I’m a people person, I love the children, and that’s why I taught for so long,” Mitchell said. “And I like helping the teachers. I want to serve and I want to see the projects we have started be completed.”

ROMAN – Is a 31-year-old. He is seeking his first term on the school board.

“I am running for school board because our district is facing several challenges that require commitment and great leadership in the boardroom,” Roman said. “I feel I am able to provide that commitment and leadership for the Greenfield Exempted Village School District. Every student has the right to a quality education which would prepare them to become productive citizens. I want to advocate for the educational needs of our children, our teachers, and our community.”

ZINT – A 39-year incumbent, Zint is wrapping up his first four-year term on the board.

“I feel like I can make a difference and have learned a lot over the last four years attending various school board meetings, workshops and other meetings,” Zint said. “I think I can bring a lot of experience to the school district.”

FAIRFIELD

Three candidates – James Craycraft, John Lawson and Rindy L. Matthews – are running for two seats on the board.

CRAYCRAFT – Is a 35-year-old incumbent who is wrapping up his sixth year on the board. He completed two years of an appointed term, then won an election to serve the last four years.

“For me, I feel like it’s a way to give back to the community,” Craycraft said. “I’m a farmer, and there are certain programs sometimes that get left by the wayside, and since agriculture is my favorite, I try to be the voice for that portion (of the curriculum).”

LAWSON – Is a 43-year-old seeking his first term on the board.

“I feel we have a great school district and I want to make sure we keep it going that way,” Lawson said. “My wife and I are both 1992 graduates of Fairfield, we have two kids who are sophomores in the school district, and I feel like we did, and they are, getting a quality education. I hope that down the road we have some grandchildren and the school is still there to give them the same thing.”

MATTHEWS – Is a 58-year-old currently finishing his first term on the board.

“I just want to continue to be part of the great success we’ve had,” Matthews said. He said the school has phenomenal teachers that do great things, an athletic program that is having success and continuing to grow, and that the board has been working hard to improve the agriculture program. “We just have a really good school and I want to remain part of it,” Matthews said.

BRIGHT LOCAL

There are no contested seats. Steve Cox and Angela K. Wright are running for two open seats on the board, and John D. Gillespie is running for an expired term that ends on Dec. 31, 2019.

LYNCHBURG-CLAY

There are no contested seats. Two candidates – Kristen L. Greenawalt and incumbent Gary West – are running for two open seats on the board.

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or jgilliland@timesgazette.com.

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Voters will decide in Hillsboro, Greenfield, Fairfield

By Jeff Gilliland

jgilliland@timesgazette.com